5 Things I Like About Situation Comedies

The Cosby Show, The Big Bang Theory, Alf, Modern Family, The Neighbors

I enjoy a variety of TV shows, although I do have my favorite genres. There are also some types I don’t care to watch. Among the genres I enjoy are situation comedies. I have watched these shows for many years now – in fact, since I was a child. Perhaps it is an error of perception, but it does seem to me that there used to be more situation comedies on TV back in the day. Or perhaps there were more that appealed to me.

Be that as it may, currently I find that I am watching mostly dramas and action adventure shows. But, that does not mean there is no room in the viewing schedule to fit in some situation comedies. I find that the situation comedies I watch can provide a much needed break from all the drama and action! There are many different reasons to watch situation comedies.

No Brainer
 

Alf

While TV has been frequently criticized as a brain sucking wasteland, I think it is unfair to paint it with such a broad stroke. TV contains many challenging programs that force you to think, inform you of facts, or expose the masses to the fine arts. Of course, situation comedies are not among those programs.

However, they do have a place and a role to play in the landscape of TV. You don’t have to have your brain engaged to just laugh at the jokes and outrageous situations. You can watch these programs while you pay the bills, wash the dishes, exercise, or clip coupons. They don’t have some long complicated involved story line – just tune in and watch!

Commentary That Can Hit Close to Home
 

Larry, Debbie and Linda - The Neighbors

Situation comedies can poke fun at us, and have the characters portray over the top behaviors, and not make us angry, because, heck, it is just a joke, and besides, that is *not* me! This is a commonality that they have with one of my favorite genres, science fiction, which frequently makes commentary on our society without actually naming humanity. Just set the program on another planet, or let the aliens take the blame for behaviors unbecoming.

In fact, a recent episode of The Neighbors, which is a situation comedy with a science fiction premise, dealt with what for me was an almost too close to true life experience featuring the local PTA president. Her portrayal as a dictatorial bully was actually eerily close to a situation I found myself dealing with in the recent past, past being the operative word thankfully. To be able to laugh about it during the show, and watch the not so good outcome for the president, was very good for my psyche.

Laughter Is Still the Best Medicine
 

Alex, Haley, Gloria, Jay, Cameron, Mitchell, Luke - Modern Family

We all need to laugh more. Real life is full of terrible news, followed by devastating news. Many people are worried about their jobs or the economy or their future or the future of the world, and with good reason.

Situation comedies are the shows to watch when you have had a difficult day and are feeling down. The days where your boss drove you crazy, you were caught in traffic, stuck behind an overflowing grocery cart in the checkout line when you popped in to just get milk, or forgot to thaw dinner. What better way to de-stress than to turn on Modern Family and watch the silliness of this loving extended family?

Great Characters
 

Sheldon - The Big Bang Theory

Situation comedies have always had great characters. Many of them have become part of our cultural identity. Even the secondary characters are part of the common references we hear in everyday life. This is true for shows that were or are hugely popular, and even for some shows that were not quite on the top.

As I think back over the many shows that are currently airing new episodes, have aired, and are still airing thanks to syndication, there are too many characters to name. However, some of my favorites are Alf the (puppet) alien from the show by the same name, who was perhaps the snarkiest alien I have ever watched; Mork from Mork and Mindy, played by a very young Robin Williams; Cliff Huxtable from The Cosby Show, who is one of the best fathers TV has ever seen; and Hawkeye Pierce, from the dark comedy MASH, whose snark rivaled Alf’s. More contemporary shows feature the socially awkward Liz Lemon from 30 Rock and of course the even more socially awkward Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.

30 Minutes
 

Rudy, Heathcliff - The Cosby Show

Situation comedies are the shortest programs on TV, along with game shows and some news programs. This is nice because on those busy nights when so much is going on, it is easy to slot in just a half hour of viewing.

Trying to kill a little time while you wait for a phone call? Maybe you are downloading a large file from the internet? Why twiddle your thumbs as you wait? Just turn on a situation comedy and be entertained!

 

What do you think of my reasons? Do you have some reasons of your own for liking situation comedies? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

  • Lee Ann

    Really good points! I loved Get Smart as a kid, The Addams Family (which my mother, who had a dark side to her sense of humor, truly adored), heck, even The Monkees! I really must try to find that PTA episode of The Neighbors though . . .

    • ptjackson

      Oh, yes, those shows were must see TV back then, weren’t they?

      The Neighbors episode is on the ABC website for free. The name of the episode is “The Gingerbread Man.” You must watch it!!

      Thanks for commenting!